“You don’t have to be sick in order to get better.” That’s the message that Stacey Ervin, former University of Michigan gymnast, is sending to student athletes. It’s a mantra that helped him to become an All-American and National Champion, all while dealing with the death of his mother and the other demands associated with being a Division I student athlete. He is sharing his story in the latest video in the Athletes Connected series with the hope that it will help at least one other person who has dealt with a personal struggle, overcome their trials and reach their goals.
Compared to their collegiate peers, student athletes are less likely to seek out mental health services due to a variety of factors, including performance pressures and a culture that promotes not being perceived as weak. Athletes Connected is working to change that. A unique collaboration among the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Depression Center, and Athletic Department, Athletes Connected aims to increase awareness of mental health issues, reduce the stigma of help-seeking, and promote positive coping skills among student athletes.
On his involvement with Athletes Connected, Stacey said, “I wanted to get involved, because it can be extremely difficult dealing with situations surrounding mental health while trying to juggle the requirements and expectations of being a student athlete at the University of Michigan. People need to understand that they’re not alone, and know that if they feel like an issue is dragging on them, they have a resource that can help.”
Learn more about the Athletes Connected Program and view additional videos at: athletesconnected.umich.edu.